The Drive introduces a ground up design that was reflective of 3 years of rider and customer feedback. Traction in all circumstances (descending, pedaling and breaking) has always been the cornerstone of the Active Float System suspension design: long rocker arm, full floating dropout, and active braking. It has continually proven itself capable and confidence inspiring under both media and customers alike, and we’re ready for the next step.
HIGH PIVOT AFS
15mm of REARWARD AXLE PATH. The way we see it, this is the way forward. By forward, we mean that once you ride it you immediately notice the lack of hang up over rocks and chatter. The bike encounters an obstacle and the rear wheel tracks with it, back and out of the way, and then resets for the next hit. But there is more going on here than just improved traction.
The bike also stays balanced and consistent, here’s why. Think of your telescoping fork and which direction it moves as goes up through its travel: up and back. For years the rear end has done the opposite: up and forward, against the direction of the bump force.
The Trapezium shape illustrates this perfectly:
Think of the sides of the Trapezium as the axle paths and circles as wheels. Upon encountering a bump, the front end moves up the trapezoid, steepening the head angle and shrinking the wheelbase. This is exacerbated as terrain gets rougher.
With rearward axle path, both axles are moving in more of a parallelogram:
As a result, the bike maintains a more consistent wheelbase and more centered feel when riding. Cornering is also more predictable, as the chainstay doesn’t shrink through turns, allowing the rider to maintain consistent front end pressure.
The benefits of our high pivot AFS continue when the trail turns uphill, particularly when things get technical. The crux of any techy climb is maintaining traction while working the bike up and over obstacles without having momentum and gravity on your side. We’ve all been in that situation where dramatic weight shift is required to unweight and throw the rear end up and over slippery uphill log/rock ledge/etc. It’s a tricky maneuver, often resulting in a spun out tire. If, however the tire is able to get up and over the ledge without deflecting off of it, the rider can approach in a more neutral weighted position. All of this while maintaining anti squat just north of 100%.
Finally, when it comes to an E-bike, high pivot just makes more sense when designing around a motor and battery. The competition for real estate is fierce in the bottom bracket area of a standard full suspension bike: drivetrain, tire clearance, and trying to get a main pivot exactly where you want it. Now add an e-bike motor and in most cases something has to give. Usually, it’s the main pivot and chainstays that get pushed backwards to make room to “make it work.” This ultimately changes the characteristics of the original design. On a high pivot however, the main pivot is above and out of the way of the drivetrain and motor. There is breathing room for the pivot and tire clearance issues are no more. This allowed us to put in a short (by e-bike standards) 440mm chainstay and the ability to accommodate up to 2.6” tires. Keep in mind, 440mm is unweighted and the bike has 15mm of rearward axle path. In other words the chainstays only grows as you progress deeper in travel, when you need the stability, and stay short and snappy for climbing. The opposite can be true on bikes touting extra-long chainstays for stability on traditional pivot designs. They are at their longest in slower/tighter/technical sections and decrease when you get into real chunder.
The graph says it all. Dead linear, 30% progressivity or, in other words, a virtually straight diagonal line as the bike moves through travel. But what does it all mean? Because it is linear, the rear shock behaves predictably, with no funky changes in gradient, which tend to translate to harshness on the trail. There is also better midstroke support which equates to less “wallow,” whether it’s in corners, pumping, or in big compressions. As the bike moves deeper into travel, the shock becomes increasingly stiff, so there’s always extra travel on tap.
BRAKE BRACKET ELIMINATED, FULLY ACTIVE BRAKING MAINTAINED
“Where’s the floating brake, wasn’t that the whole point?” Thanks to the high pivot configuration, the brake bracket is no longer required to deliver low anti-rise numbers. By moving the main pivot up, the chainstay and seatstay are near parallel, and maintain that shape as the bike uses travel. This means the dropouts translate instead of rotate, allowing us to bolt the caliper directly to the dropouts while maintaining exceptional braking performance. By keeping the rotor clocked to the same spot on the caliper throughout travel, the Drive delivers fully active braking with 30% anti-rise at sag. With the bracket out of the way, space is freed up to run a standard 203mm rotor.
DESIGN & STYLING
Once we’re happy with the function on a design, the focus shifts to form, to deliver a bike that looks as good as it rides. The priority was to keep motor and battery package space as minimal as possible, while also delivering an overall design that is visually balanced. A lot of effort was made to have a downtube that is as svelte as possible, to avoid the bloated look that early generation e-bikes suffered from. This was achieved by using a custom, fully integrated battery, as well as routing the brake and shifter housing through the top tube.
SHIMANO EP8 MOTOR & CUSTOM 504W BATTERY
The EP8 is the smallest and lightest in class motor, generating 85 Nm of torque and commanded by Shimano’s clean and cleverly integrated display interface. Power delivery is further customized via the E-Tube phone app. Weight, strength, and keeping the appearance svelte were a major design priority. Thanks to a custom 504W battery, accessed via the motor, the Drive has one of the slimmest down tube/motor areas in the industry. Keeping things tight also helps to keep the weight down.
SEAT TUBE & CLEARANCE
With the shock and linkage moving to the front of the seat tube, we were able to ditch the shock tunnel. The new design provides a massive uninterrupted 308mm (L & XL) and 288mm (M) seat post insertion for 34.9mm seat posts. The tidy shock packaging also gave us space to chop over an inch off of stand over height, offering clearance for a larger spectrum of riders across each frame size. Lastly, we’ve steepened up the STA to 76.2° (MT) and 77° (LT), putting the rider in an optimal, upright seated position over the pedals.
FLIP CHIP GEO
A cleanly integrated flip chip at the top shock mount allows riders to adjust geo by half a degree: 63.5°/64° (MT), 64.5°/65° (LT). The adjustment is easily done trailside. All that is required is a 6mm Allen Wrench.
SUPER BOOST & KEYED AXLE
The AFS rear end on our last bike has been called “exceptionally stiff”, but when it comes to lateral stiffness, more is better. So we took it one step further. The first area of improvement was moving to SuperBoost 157 hub spacing, which it gets a stronger & stiffer wheel thanks to wider spoke flanges. But that wasn’t enough. The real improvement, you can’t see. The new dropout design which integrates a unique keyed rear axle that locks the two dropout plates together, increasing torsional stiffness in high stress circumstances. Lastly, we’re running dual row angular contact bearings at the seat and chainstays for improved stiffness and durability.